The Ford-Ferrari connection dates back to the 1960s. And while that connection’s foundation may be based on a bitter rivalry, it’s a rivalry that stems from Ford’s attempt to buy Ferrari. But does Ford actually own Ferrari? And, if it doesn’t, who does?
Does Ford own Ferrari?
To put it simply, no. Ford does not own Ferrari. But, as it turns out, there is a very good reason that you might have gotten the impression that they do. In fact, according to The New York Times, Ford did attempt to purchase Ferrari a ways back. Unfortunately, the Ford-Ferrari merger didn’t go quite like the automaker hoped it would.
Instead, The New York Times reports that in 1963, when Henry Ford II tried to buy Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari ultimately nixed the deal. Ford was reportedly embarrassed over the situation, which led to Ford assembling a racing team led by the driver-turned-designer Carroll Shelby. The team was directed to take on Ferrari at France’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. If you’ve ever watched the film ‘Ford v Ferrari,’ chances are you’re somewhat familiar with Ford’s penchant for revenge as it relates to Ferrari already.
Did Ford ever try to buy Ferarri?
Unfortunately, the story isn’t quite that simple. As The New York Times explained, Henry Ford II attempted to purchase Ferrari in 1963. But according to Forbes, the story really starts in 1962. At the time, Ford was clawing its way back from a drop in sales. In hopes of turning the tides, Ford Division general manager Lee Iacocca convinced CEO Henry Ford II, the eldest son of Edsel Ford and the eldest grandson of Henry Ford, that the brand should acquire a sports car.
Come 1963, Ford’s dreams of acquiring a sports car were in reach as the brand was close to acquiring Ferrari and all of its assets. According to Forbes, Enzo Ferrari reportedly looked forward to closing the deal too. Unfortunately, that eagerness was short-lived after he discovered a clause in the contract that would give Ford control over the Ferrari racing team. Unwilling to relinquish control of the Ferrari racing team, Enzo nixed the deal.
If Ford doesn’t own Ferrari, who does?
Let’s start at the beginning. Ferrari was founded in 1947. At that point, it was owned by its namesake, Enzo Ferrari. According to Sports Car Digest, Enzo was the sole owner of the company from 1947 to 1969. In 1969, years after Ford attempted to purchase Ferrari, Ferrari sold 50% of the company to Fiat. Sports Car Digest reports that many speculate that “Enzo was never really interested to sell the company to Ford, he just used them as a prop to build up the price for the later sale to Fiat.”
After Enzo’s passing in 1988, Fiat bought an additional 40% of the business. The remaining 10% was left to Enzo’s son, Piero Ferrari. Then, in 2005, Sports Car Digest reports an investment group bought 5% of Ferrari from Fiat, which had then become a part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) group. FCA ultimately agreed to the sale but eventually bought back the shares, returning Ferrari to its Italian roots.
However, in 2015, FCA announced they would separate Ferrari from the FCA Group. In 2016, Sports Car Digest reports that Ferrari went public at a $9 billion valuation. These days, Sports Car Digest says that while institutional investors own 59% of the company, the general public owns a 30% stake in the automotive brand.
What car companies does Ford own?
As for Ford? If it doesn’t own Ferrari, then which car brands does it own? According to Consumer Reports, Ford, rather the Ford Motor Company, owns two automotive brands. Those brands include Lincoln and, well, Ford.